KINGSVILLE, Texas — A new program launched by the Department of Defense-funded Military OneSource is helping military spouses transition in and out of the military lifestyle.
The Military Spouse Transition Program, or "MySTeP," is broken up into three phases: stepping in, stepping through, and stepping out. The goal is to help spouses navigate through each stage of their service member's careers.
"The recognition was that it would be challenging to move," said Brooke Spitzer, wife of Naval Air Station Kingsville Commanding Officer Erik Spitzer. "But you don't really know how challenging that can be until you're actually doing it."
There are currently dozens of resources available to service members and their families, but "MySTeP" brings them together in an accessible, online format.
"Being able to be prepared at the end game, when our spouses may or may not have an immediate job transition, helps us to have stability in the family," said Spitzer about the new program's benefits.
Spitzer also is a Military Spouse Employment Specialist at Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend. She works on connecting spouses, such as Viviana Nettleton -- whose husband serves in the Army and just relocated to Kingsville -- to potential employers.
"When we moved here, I think it was probably two- to- three months before I started trying to find a job," said Nettleton, who struggled to find employment that matched her education and skill sets after relocating. "I tried to do it on my own because I thought, 'Oh, it's not going to be hard to find a job.' Even though it is a smaller town, I didn't think it would be that hard. I had a hard time."
Nettleton is not alone. Several hundred military families transition in and out of Naval Air Stations Corpus Christi and Kingsville annually, with most of them leaving behind a job, a house, and starting over from scratch. This new program organizes the resources military spouses need in one place, and provides tools such as web videos and an abundance of online information to make it easier to find support and guidance.
"With all these programs -- I know they're trying to do good, but sometimes it can get a little confusing: Like where do I go? Or which place, if I have this one question?" Nettleton said. "Who do I actually ask? Where can I find help?"
Spitzer added, "I think MySTeP is going to be a step in the right direction for helping spouses connect all the way through their time with the military."
For more information on the MySTeP program, visit Military OneSource.
The following resources are available to spouses and families specifically in the Coastal Bend region:
Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend
Hiring Our Heroes - Military Spouse Professional Network
USO of South Texas
Military Spouse Corporate Career Network
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Fleet and Family Service Center
CC: 4th floor of Naval Health Branch Clinic on Base
Kingsville: 746 Rosendahl, Kingsville, TX 78363